Thursday, April 3, 2014

Jo Bell's Flowers Finally Bloom on Tattoosday (The Tattooed Poets Project)

The Tattooed Poets Project has been, for the most part, a celebration of tattooed U.S. poets. There are, however, a few exceptions, and our next contributor, Jo Bell, was part of our British Invasion in 2012, but we never managed to get her post together in time. However, I'm a patient man (are you reading this, Mark Doty?) and we finally got Jo's submission and, boy, am I glad we did! Check out her tattoo:

Photo by Clare Stanton

This is really cool and worth a closer look:

Photo by Clare Stanton

Jo tells us all about this work:
"The tattooist, Joolz Denby, is a well-known performance poet who appeared at festivals and gigs as ‘Joolz the Punk Poet’ and is now an established novelist – and tattoo artist. She is the manager of the band New Model Army, and a force to be reckoned with. When I told her that I wanted a tattoo at the base of my spine as a cover-up, she politely but firmly said ‘No, it would look better here’ – on my shoulder, where it is. I came out with a much larger tattoo than I had planned, and in a completely different place – but I love it. Joolz doesn’t do flash work, working only from her own designs which often include this vivid red. See more of her work here."
I should also note that Joolz appeared on the Tattooed Poets Project in 2012 here.

Jo shared the following poem:


Consider the poor man who found a bird
and fed it – scuttling as it grew,
unsettled by its widening eyes.

Unloosed, there was a mean
and meaning flurry.
She spun her head around and lifted,

starved and roamed. Accustomed to
a spare and motley diet of bones
and anecdotes, her shadow stretched.

She got the hang of it. She learned to lean out
as night fell, to stoop into the bat-darned air
sleek and bookish, hungry.

She did not ask for liberty. But now she has it
she will strip the minutes
from the mouse-flesh days.

~ ~ ~

Jo Bell is a working poet and the former director of National Poetry Day in the UK. She is now the Canal Poet Laureate for the UK and recently won the prestigious Charles Causley Prize. Her collection Navigation is available here.

Thanks to Jo for representing the UK this year on Tattoosday's Tattooed Poets Project!

This entry is ©2014 Tattoosday. The poem and tattoo are reprinted with the poet's permission.

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